“Just a word” – Verbal violence and abuse

Author - Liang Guobing, counselor of Jiaosheng Counseling Center

"You're so stupid! You're so useless. I'm going to die on you!" It seems like it's just an angry statement, but there may be a lot of crises hidden behind it.In some families, these stinging words may be taken for granted.The person who said it didn't take it seriously. It was just a sentence, and there was no physical harm. Once it is over, it will be fine. What's the big deal? But the person listening felt very uncomfortable at first. If they receive these hurtful words every day, they can't resist, and they can't. If you don't tolerate it, these injuries will slowly be internalized and cause negative effects that are difficult to erase.In psychology, it is called verbal violence. If it occurs for a long time in the same relationship, it can be regarded as verbal abuse.An important characteristic of an abusive relationship is the imbalance of power between the two parties. One party is very strong and must control the other party, whether emotionally, financially, or in life. In severe cases, there may even be physical abuse.The other party cannot resist, is unable to parry, and must obey in everything and endure humiliation.

In fact, verbal violence is the beginning of a nightmare.At first it was just some criticism, but gradually the situation intensified and turned into name-calling, belittling, neglect, yelling, humiliation, etc. When the mood is aroused, the abuser will also start physical abuse after or at the same time as the verbal abuse.At first, they pushed and pulled each other, and then gradually escalated to punching, slapping, kicking, choking, and even using weapons, such as knives and guns.At this time, the victim often suffers physical injuries, bruises and purples, and even his life is in danger.Therefore, if you can detect the tendency of verbal violence in a relationship early, you can stop this communication mode or leave the relationship before the situation gets worse.

In these relationships, in order not to lose the other person, the abuser keeps the other person under his control. After the abuse, he may apologize or compensate, and everyone will enjoy a honeymoon period of peace until Mao Dun appears next time. The war started again.This is a common pattern in the development of many domestic violence families.Abusive relationships occur not only in relationships between husband and wife, but also in relationships between boyfriend and girlfriend, parents, children, bosses and subordinates, colleagues, friends, brothers and sisters, etc.

Having said that, what is verbal violence? Sometimes the parties involved cannot tell whether the other party is joking or belittling. The following examples can help you. Because domestic violence is the most obvious in the relationship between husband and wife, the examples are mostly based on couples: (Excerpt: 11 Common Patterns of Verbal Abuse, by Jade Anna Hughes)

1. abuse

This type of verbal abuse is probably the easiest to identify.This includes being constantly called names and/or yelled at, arguing in conversations that always resort to yelling and using offensive phrases, which are all signs that your communication with your partner is not healthy at all.In a healthy relationship, partners stay away from arguments or try to discuss issues in a normal tone.But in a verbally abusive relationship, the abuser will yell and yell until they get what they want. "You idiot, now you've made me angry!"

2. condescending

Mild sarcasm and sarcastic tones should not be an ongoing part of your interactions with your partner.This may also include being the constant butt of your partner's jokes.It may start off as funny, which is why it often goes undetected, but over time, the condescension turns into putdown.

For example: “No wonder you’re always complaining about your weight, look how clean your plate is!”

3. manipulate

Controlling people often constantly pressure their partners to do or say things that make them uncomfortable.Another type of manipulation may be more difficult to detect.It occurs in subtle ways, often taking the lead in turning the tables and placing blame on the abused partner.

For example: "If you really loved me, you wouldn't say or do that."

4. criticism

It's okay to offer constructive criticism once in a while when asked; it's healthy to give your partner honest advice.However, constant criticism and belittling does not build the other person up.Over time, it can result in a severe loss of self-esteem for the victim.

For example: "Why are you such a mess? I can always count on you to ruin our fun".

5. disparaging comments

We want to take note if your partner uses disparaging comments about your race/ethnic background, gender, religion, general background to put you down.If it happens once, it will undoubtedly happen again and should not be normalized.A partner or relative who loves and respects you will not use your inner qualities to put you down.

For example: "I'm not surprised, you Asians, you all do this" or "You women, you cry stupid tears all the time for no reason."

6. threaten

While this may seem easy to identify, threats can also be disguised to make you look like "it's not that bad," or to make you question whether you really heard it right.But a threat is a threat, and a loving partner will not use threats to get their way.

For example: "If you leave me tonight, I will hurt myself" or "If you don't, you may find that the cat you love goes missing."

7. blame

Blaming is one of the most common forms of verbal abuse and involves constantly blaming your partner for your behavior rather than being willing to accept responsibility.This may include blaming their partner for things that have nothing to do with them and blaming the abuser's emotions on their partner.

For example: "You're the reason we never get anything done on time!" or "Look what you've made me do now!"

8. Allegations

Repeated accusations are often motivated by severe jealousy and are a form of name-calling.Being constantly blamed for something often causes the victim to start questioning whether they did something wrong, dressed inappropriately, talked too much, etc.

For example: "I bet you're cheating on me!" or "I see you having fun flirting with your boss again, while I get to chat with your boring coworker."

9. Withdraw (cold violence)

When your partner doesn't get what they want or disagrees with you, they ignore you until you give in and apologize, or they ignore you for no reason at all.

Example: You are discussing choosing a restaurant to go to for dinner, but you don’t want to follow your partner’s preferences.They then leave the room and refuse to talk to you until you apologize.

10. Gaslighting (emotional) manipulation

Abusers often belittle their partners' emotions, making them question whether their emotions are pointless and/or wrong.This is a very common form of emotional abuse and is not often detected because it can be discreet and deeply manipulative.Gaslighting can leave a person feeling isolated and unable to express their feelings.People who have been gaslighted often find themselves apologizing for behavior they never committed.

For example: "Why are you always so sensitive about everything?"

11. circular argument

If your partner frequently disagrees with you, starts arguing at every opportunity, or seems to get stuck in a cycle of talking and arguing that wears you down, these are signs of an unhealthy relationship.People who accept such disagreements often feel like they are walking on thin ice and have difficulty avoiding returning to the same arguments again and again.In a normal relationship, we don't need to agree on everything, but there should be an atmosphere of mutual acceptance, not one of blame-shifting or endless arguments that can never be won.

If you feel that you are always nervous and anxious around your partner, or if the pattern described above sounds familiar to you, then you may be in an unhealthy relationship and may be heading towards crisis.If you have a trusted friend or family member who gives you advice or questions about a relationship problem, listen to their analysis and perspective.They may see or hear things they say or do that you can't see or hear because the authorities are obsessive.If you feel you need help from a psychological counselor, you can make an appointment onlinewww.ccchhouston.org Or call our office at (713)270-8660.Through a safe and confidential counseling process, you can freely and honestly express how something makes you feel inside, while also learning to enhance your judgment and set boundaries for yourself in relationships.

Readers seeking more information should check out the US Department of Health's Office on Women's Health or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for advice.